January 2018  

President's Message

Happy New Year! It is my sincerest hope that this year is filled with happiness and personal growth. 2018 is a very special year for the Structural Engineers Association of Ohio (SEAoO). Fifteen years ago, dedicated men and women saw it their duty to establish a member organization to not only benefit current practicing professionals, but also the next generation of professional structural engineers. SEAoO continues to be one of the more highly regarded member organizations in NCSEA, and that is due in large part to our outstanding members, which I have the pleasure of serving this year as your President. 

The Board of Directors will have a few new faces this year. I want to thank Denny Birkemeier for several years of service to the organization as Director and, most recently, as Secretary. He will continue to be involved with the Annual Conference Committee and the local Toledo Section. His dedication to the organization has been invaluable. Thank you Denny! 

I also want to welcome Phil Niekamp to the Board. Phil has been an integral member of the Cincinnati Section, and I look forward to his increased involvement with the organization. Tim Gilbert will remain on the Board as our Secretary. Frank Monastra did a wonderful job last year as our President and will now serve as Past President. Our organization saw record professional and student membership levels in 2017. I am excited to continue this growth and hope our numbers are even higher when I hand off the helm to Mindy Barber, President-elect, in 2019. 

My focus this year will be building on the momentum of last year’s historic numbers. I plan on putting a concentrated effort on building our Young Members Group. This group will organize Young Members activities and work to provide a bridge for these members from academia to the professional workforce. This group will expose our Young Members to the organization and hopefully spark their interest to move into leadership positions within SEAoO. I also encourage all practicing professionals, regardless of their years of experience, to leverage their knowledge and mentor the next generation of engineers. 

In addition to promoting our growth, I also plan to recognize those that have made outstanding contributions to the organization and profession. The newly established Awards Committee will be rolling out three annual awards aimed at highlighting the significant professional contributions of our members. More information on the Young Members Group and awards will be outlined in upcoming newsletters. 

Lastly, as previously mentioned, our organization would not be where it is without our members. Their passion and dedication to the profession makes them an invaluable resource. I encourage everyone to take part in our Section meetings and Annual Conference, collaborate, and learn something new. Our Board of Directors is at your disposal, if you should find yourself needing assistance with a unique design challenge, we will be at the ready to assist you connecting with our members. 

Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to the upcoming year,
Antonio D. Verne P.E.
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Past President's message

It was a privilege to serve as your SEAoO President in 2017.  Looking back at last year, I am reminded of the talented team that comprises SEAoO’s leadership and proud of the progress SEAoO is making engaging the local community of structural engineers.  Here is a brief snapshot of SEAoO’s milestones in 2017:

  1.      Total membership is at all-time high at 432 (professional, associate and student).
  2.      Record attendance with over 160 engineers, students and vendors at the Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio. 
  3.      Cincinnati Section is revitalized and vibrant.
  4.      Dayton Section is growing and getting momentum.
  5.      Received $3,000 grant from NCSEA for student mentoring nights.
  6.      Increased SEAoO scholarship funds from $3,000 to $7,000.

Thank you to our members for getting involved and making a difference in our profession.

Looking forward to 2018, I am confident Antonio Verne will excel as your new SEAoO president by sustaining energy and being an advocate for our industry.

Thank you,
Frank Monastra
SEAoO Past President 
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SEAoO Membership Committee

Membership renewal for all levels is still open. Dues remain the same and have not increased for several years.  Renewing now to ensure your membership will continue until the end of 2018.

Did you become a PE since your last renewal?  If so, you can qualify to be a Professional Member with full voting rights.  Email us at to change your member category.

Also, as a reminder, SEAoO has established an Associate Member level that applies to those who have obtained a bachelor’s degree in a field related to structural engineering and are within 4 years of graduation. The first calendar year of Associate Membership is free with renewals at half the regular dues rate.

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SEAoO News


Have you noticed those two unassuming words in the upper right-hand corner of the NCSEA’s web site? Member Login.

If you are a SEAoO member, then you have an additional benefit – access to NCSEA’s Member Portal, a members-only section of the web site – at no extra cost.

It is simple to use. If you haven’t logged recently, a lot has changed…in a good way! If you have never logged in, click on those two words in the corner of the main web page, and use the same e-mail address you used when joining or renewing your SEAoO membership and the password NCSEA1234. First time users will be asked to create a new password – and you are in!

Once in, take advantage of the benefits such as:

  • STRUCTURE e-Magazine - Don't wait for the magazine to reach your mailbox each month, access it directly from the member portal! 
  • ICC Publication Discounts – Staying technically “current” is expensive. Visit this page to save on the materials you need! 
  • Young Member Group Resources - How do you start a new YMG? Find tools will help you succeed!
  • NCSEA Committee Minutes - An inside look at what NCSEA Committees are doing.

Finally, you can keep your NCSEA record up-to-date to ensure delivery of NCSEA and other membership-related materials.
Start 2018 off right! Carve out 10 minutes in your busy day to login to NCSEA’s Member Portal and take a look around. And thanks for being a member of SEAoO. We are pleased to offer you this additional benefit.

We welcome any feedback you might have, please email

Leo J. Baran, Member Organization & Committee Services Director
Tim Gilbert, SEAoO Secretary


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SEAoO Education Committee

Once the weather breaks, if you or someone at your company is interested in presenting or giving a jobsite tour to any of our student chapters, please send us an email!  

SEAoO has student chapters at: 

  • University of Cincinnati
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Toledo
  • Ohio University
  • University of Akron
  • University of Dayton
Thank you,
Bernie Kooi, PE, SE, LEED AP
SEAoO Basic Education Committee Chair
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SEAoO Programs Committee

Winter is here...

In case you haven't noticed the absence of warm weather and green grass, winter is here. Fortunately, that means regional events will be resuming! Most regions have events planned; be sure to check out a local event, connect with colleagues, and learn something new!

It is also that time of year when the Voice of the Member Survey is distributed to the membership. This is your opportunity to provide feedback on topics, venues, and meeting times, so that we can better serve you. This survey will only take a few moments of your time. Please stay tuned as a separate email blast with survey information will be sent next week!

Our next committee meeting will be January 9, 2018 via conference call. If you are interested in offering feedback or taking a more active role in your local section, please let us know - we are always open to new ideas and new faces!

Thank you,
Antonio D. Verne P.E.
SEAoO Continuing Education Committee Chair
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SEAoO Licensure Committee

Free Speech Supersedes Licensure

Mats Järlström, a Swedish immigrant with an electrical engineering background, prevailed against the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering & Land Surveying (OSBEELS) with his case claiming a violation of his free speech rights (LINK).  

The case garnered national attention from newspapers and columnists (including an article in our July newsletter).  Briefly, OSBEELS contended Mr. Järlström violated the state laws with respect to engineering in his efforts to convince officials to change the red light timing algorithms.  Having no authority to make any change, he had merely advocated for it and was cited by OSBEELS.  Mats claimed this rule has the effect of suppressing free speech and he sought a judicial remedy.  In its ruling, the United States District Court of Oregon Portland Division clearly agrees.

“The Court DECLARES that Or. Rev. Stat. [several statutes] violate the Speech Clause of the First Amendment on their face…”  

Clearly, the court is a placing boundaries on what may be subject to licensure restrictions.  By its very nature, licensure of any sort limits freedom.  How it is defined and implemented are significant factors in whether the public will deem the restriction acceptable.  Further, which restrictions are acceptable is a question subject to more scrutiny as approximately one quarter of all workers are now required to have some form of licensure to perform their jobs, roughly a 400% increase since the 1950s.  In 2015, the Obama administration released a report detailing this trend.

This growth in licensure requirements not only affects the individual jobs or professions subject to each license, it creates an overall atmosphere of professional limitations.  In a society founded on the principles of free speech and freedom of association, the public is likely to set a high bar to justify further professional restrictions.  As awareness of licensure restrictions becomes more prevalent, more people can come to believe it is an undue burden on their freedoms.  This would make adding new licensure provisions, like Structural Licensure, a tougher challenge for proponents.  

Hair braiding restrictions, licenses to mow lawns, and limitations on who may whiten teeth are not directly linked to structural licensure, but they contribute to the overall economic atmosphere.  For engineers seeking structural licensure, believing it’s the rational path toward better protection of the public, it is important to understand the full extent of professional restrictions. Establishing licensure is a political process, and should the public come to believe that licensure efforts are not fully dedicated to public protection, they are much less likely to lend support.

Your thoughts regarding the topic, and others, are welcome.  If you would like to contribute to this column in part or with a full article, please contact us.

Thank you.

Timothy M. Gilbert, P.E., S.E., SECB
SEAoO Licensure Committee

For your information, the Ohio regulations governing the practice of engineering can be found HERE.

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Nuts, Bolts & Washers

Request for Feedback

This column, Nuts Bolts & Washers, started well over 2 years ago and has offered thoughts on a variety of items related to engineering.  Since its inception, content for this newsletter has grown appreciably and it raises the question whether this column is still serving our readers.  Please send a note if you want this column to continue.

Should our readers choose to have this column come to an end, please accept my gratitude for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on our profession.

Thank you,

Tim Gilbert
SEAoO Secretary


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